In a post to the IE Blog yesterday, Microsoft confirmed that it is about to release the curious long-in-the-coming Release Candidate version of Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8)...

The version of IE8 in Windows 7 Beta is somewhat older than the Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate (IE8 RC1) that we're about to release for Windows Vista and Windows XP.

Over the past months, our compatibility team has been hard at work, finding and fixing bugs that cause site rendering issues. Due to the different release schedules for Windows 7 Beta and IE8 RC1, some of these bug fixes didn't make it into Windows 7 Beta (aka Build 7000). So, if you want to use the latest version of IE8 – you’ll want to install IE8 RC1 for Windows Vista or Windows XP.

Just like we did for IE8 Beta 2, we would love to get your feedback on IE8 RC1 rendering. Soon after we release IE8 RC1, we will blog again about using the Report a Webpage Problem Add-On to report site rendering issues. The data that you have uploaded with this tool in the past has been very useful in our efforts to find and fix rendering issues - thank you very much for helping us out.

Put another way, Windows 7 Beta users won't be getting the IE 8 RC1 release.

Thanks to Theodore B. for the tip.